Oz the Great and Powerful - not to be mistaken for a The Wizard of Oz prequel (for legal reasons, of course), basically blew my mind.
...I saw this in the IMAX 3D version, which is quite out of character for boring old me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The visual effects and overall cinematography were top of the line, and quite simply put, lovely. The opening credits were carnival themed and the beginning of the film was in sepia, paying homage to the original The Wizard of Oz. When Oscar (James Franco) arrives in the land of Oz, colors are vibrant and full of life.
I won't give away any of the storyline, but I will say it was compelling and interesting - though the misogynistic undertones left a sour taste in my mouth. Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams) all fell head over heels for Oz (Franco), a struggling magician with a seemingly shallow heart. It's Hollywood, so of course he changes in the end, but the thought of three stunning women fighting over an insecure, selfish man never sits right with me.
The women were FLAWLESS. Theodora (Kunis) is the first woman introduced to us in the land of Oz, donning a red hat and cape with tight, black, leather pants and boots. Her lips are bright red, and her eyes are a soft, smokey brown. Evanora (Weisz) completely owns her emerald green corseted dress and bold, green statement necklace. Her makeup is classic, dark, and sultry. Glinda (Williams) is pure perfection, donning a wardrobe consisting mainly of a pink and nude color pallette, and a dewy, shimmery complexion.
It's rare that a Disney film fools me, but this one actually did catch me off guard. My seven year old nephew figured it out before I did, so maybe I just wasn't on my A-game tonight. Either way, the plot was a bit deeper than your stereotypical fantasy/adventure flick, and it was also quite dark for a Disney film. At the same time, there were quite a few laugh out loud moments, and I'd say it was completely appropriate for kids about my nephew's age or older.
Michelle Williams completely stole the show. Not just in her innocent, simple appearance - although she won at that, too. Holy hell, she is gorgeous. I wouldn't say her character was particularly deep or difficult, but I still think this is Williams' best performance to date, and she outperformed every other character in the film, including the lead, James Franco. She was believable, she was lovable, and she was elegant. Glinda the Good Witch is the kind of person I want to be when I grow up.
Overall, the casting was spot on, although I wish Mila Kunis' acting was stronger in the beginning of the film. Zach Braff makes a brief cameo, and I wish he'd have stayed longer. Franco and him seemed to have great chemistry. The mix of animated characters and actors carried an interesting dynamic, and I have to admit, I now have a soft spot for china dolls.